This post is in response to “Tater Tot Feminism” by Rebekah Merkle (Found Here.)
Thank you for your last response, but I am afraid you have left me more confused than ever. You seem to be a tough cookie, so I am going to be a little more critical of your writing style and beliefs in this post. I hope you will take it as constructive and know that I am not at all attacking you or your family’s character.
You got one thing right, I had no idea what sect of complementarianism you fall under, so perhaps I should not have assumed in my last letter. Have you ever seen the movie “Big Daddy?” Some complementarians would not dare have this movie in their homes. Others would allow it as long as some sort of clearplay filter was installed. Regardless, your last post reminded me of this famous scene (warning: the *S* word is said and there is no clearplay):
The major weakness of the complementarian camp is that their “rules” are inconsistent and it is quite easy to win a theological debate when you get to make up your own rules; then back up your “rules” with my favorite complementarian one-liner of all time, “This was God’s idea, not mine.”
I almost did not respond to your last post because I am beginning to think that you believe it is totally OK to make up your own rules. Also, I know that by the end of this debate you and your camp will truly believe that you have “won” this debate regardless of the fact that you have presented little to no legitimate biblical arguments.
You spout off opinions of what you believe the Bible teaches and back them up with metaphors that sort-of make sense and humor that is sort-of funny. Further, most of your commentary is defensive, trying to prove that your dad is not a misogynist and such. I was hoping for offensive material proving your case with deeper scholarly research; but instead, I got more “Douglas” opinions of the Bible. You say that your dad saw to it that his daughter’s were well educated and I believe it, but you have yet to prove this with any of your posts directed to me.
The only reason I am responding to your last post is because my stats are showing that thousands of people are reading this dialogue between you and I and my hope is to bring some clarity to some of your confusing statements.
For example, you write:
Why did the apostle Paul praise Junia as outstanding along with many other female leaders in the New Testament? Well first, because they were praiseworthy. And they did good work. For the gospel. And they should have done those things. Good job Junia!
Later, you write that God only calls men to preach God’s Word:
And I can’t be a preacher because I’m not a man.
Firstly, I respect the fact that I think you acknowledge Junia as a legitimate apostle. Many complementarians deny that Junia was a female and if they accept that she was a female they deny that she was an apostle (yet, another inconsistency in the comp camp).
In early Church times, an apostle was the highest level position among church leadership. We know that Paul and Peter were apostles. By looking at their lives in Scripture, we are able to glean insight as to what Apostle Junia’s responsibilities would have been.
As Paul and Peter, chances are likely that Junia would have been responsible to lead both men and women, preach God’s Word to them, and help them stay on the “Jesus-track.” Most scholarship agrees that an apostle would have had the most God-given authority among early church leaders. So, I am with you, good job Junia!
I know your dad’s position concerning Junia:
How much authority is involved is a pure function of the sending agency, and what the sent one is commissioned to do. Of course Junia was a sent one. But whose? To what purpose? The mere use of the word gives us no basis for promoting someone who was sent for coffee to the ranks of the Twelve (Source Here).
I do not claim to be the “sharpest tool in the shed” by any means, but I would venture to suggest that N.T. Wright is a more serious scholar than your dad. So for the sake of those who are searching for a less crude writing style and more serious scholarship, let’s take a look at what Dr. N.T. Wright has to say concerning Junia.
We should not be surprised that Paul calls a woman named Junia an apostle in Romans 16.7. If an apostle is a witness to the resurrection, there were women who deserved that title before any of the men. (I note that there was a huge fuss in the translation and revision of the New International Version at the suggestion that Junia was a woman, and that not a single historical or exegetical argument was available to those who kept insisting, for obvious reasons, that she was Junias, a man.) (Source Here).
Complementarianism can ignore Apostle Junia all they want and try to demean her as the “coffee runner apostle,” but the truth is that her title of “apostle” matters. She was either a legitimate apostle or she was not and above is at least one “real” NT scholar telling us that she was.
Beyond the Bible, to say a woman cannot preach is simply unrealistic. Women are preaching all over the world and good fruit is coming out of their ministries and their teachings. Anyone who denies this has literally lost touch with what is happening in the world.
Perhaps what you were trying to say is that women should not preach. To that, I would say, if a woman plants a tree and that tree produces fruit that tastes good and nourishes people’s bodies, why would we want to tear down her tree just because she is not male? Likewise, if a female preacher is helping to usher lost souls into the Kingdom and is spreading the teachings of Christ, why would we want to stop her simply because she was born a girl?
Beware of false prophets who come disguised as harmless sheep but are really vicious wolves. You can identify them by their fruit, that is, by the way they act. Can you pick grapes from thornbushes, or figs from thistles? A good tree produces good fruit, and a bad tree produces bad fruit. A good tree can’t produce bad fruit, and a bad tree can’t produce good fruit. So every tree that does not produce good fruit is chopped down and thrown into the fire. Yes, just as you can identify a tree by its fruit, so you can identify people by their actions. -Matthew 7:15-20
Surely, not every female preacher is a “false prophet,” in sin, or out of line with God’s Will for spreading the Word of God? Do you see how absurd this thought is? Surely we can look at the lives of many female preachers who love Jesus with all their hearts and strive to honor Him by living holy lives. Would you really want the women in China who are leading the house church movement there to stop preaching and leading, when they make up 75% those spreading the Gospel and discipling new Christians (this stat is from a missionaries email I received)?
You state, “It is vital, in my view, that any Christian woman, in any century, in any part of the world, should be able to open her Bible and find in it clear teaching on how she should live without having to be a PhD candidate.” While I agree that any person can study the Word of God without having a theology ed background; refusing to study the Bible (each person for themselves) in proper context is dangerous.
For example, any Christian woman can open her Bible and read “Masters, treat your slaves in the same way. Don’t threaten them; remember, you both have the same Master in heaven, and he has no favorites (Ephesians 6:9).” Without understanding the cultural context and reading the rest of the Bible, anyone could determine that God is cool with slavery. In fact, this argument was often used when slave owners in America fought for the continuation of enslaving blacks.
It seems the crux of your argument is that we must take the Bible literally, at face-value, and that deeper research is not necessary concerning women’s roles and how they should live their lives. If this is in fact what you are saying, then why do you not wear a head covering? The Word is plain and clear when it states, “Yes, if she refuses to wear a head covering, she should cut off all her hair! But since it is shameful for a woman to have her hair cut or her head shaved, she should wear a covering (1 Corinthians 11:6)?”
Further, do you ever get your hair cut or colored? Do you wear a wedding ring? Do you wear beautiful clothing? If so, Peter would advise you not to be concerned with these things in 1 Peter 3:3:
Don’t be concerned about the outward beauty of fancy hairstyles, expensive jewelry, or beautiful clothes.
All I have to do is google your name under images to know that you enjoy beautiful clothing and since at one time you operated a clothing business for children, I would venture to say “beautiful clothing” was a daily concern at one point in your life (See pics here). I am not judging you; I think your pics are adorable and my pictures on the internet show I love nice clothes, jewelry and stylish hair too! But, I am exposing what I deem to be “theological hypocrisy” at its finest. It is not your fault sister; you have obviously been taught that some “literal Bible rules” are OK to break and others are not OK to break.
The truth of the matter is that complementarianism breeds all sorts of confusion because legalism makes no sense and contradicts itself.
Egalitarians agree that women can operate in any role a man can operate in within church leadership and our biblical arguments are generally consistent. Some complementarians permit women to teach 18-year-old males certain subjects, but others do not allow women to teach men at all. Some complementarians allow women to share scripture in church, while others do not. Some complementarians permit women to serve as deacons, while others do not. Some complementarians even allow women to be pastors with the exception of “lead pastor” and others do not. Some complementarians allow women to be lead pastors as long as they have some sort of “male covering” such as an elder or a husband.
The truth is, I am beginning to have no idea what a “real complementarian” is because there is little consensus among the movement. I now know the “Douglas form” of complementarianism anyways; but if we conclude that the “Douglas form” of complementarianism is the biblical form, then logic forces all of us to conclude that all complementarian forms that contradict the “Douglas form” are not biblical.
Complementarianism is a house divided against itself and the Bible tells us that a house of this sort will fall down (Mark 3:25). It is only a matter of time. It’s easy to win when we make up our own rules in the Church and call them “God’s rules.” Complementarianism does not play fair and all of your posts in this dialogue have proven this Rebekah. For this reason, I fold and you “win.” 😉
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